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“I’m not well enough known to be cancelled”

I’m in Vegas, yes on business, and went to see Brad Garrett’s stand up comedy at his club in the MGM Grand. It was the first comedy club I had ever visited (I know I need to get a life) and particularly with Garrett didn’t know what to expect. All I knew about him was that he was the benign brother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The “no one under 18 admitted” might have given me a hint.

Garrett’s comedy isn’t for everyone. He is crude, loud, and basically uses ethnic humor to get his laughs. And laughs he got. He interacted with audience members, poking fun and mocking everyone. Asians, blacks, Jews, large white women, old people, little people, men, married, singles, gays, but he took great care to include himself in his jokes. His self deprecating humor kept the audience in stitches.

Garrett is politically left, but didn’t bring politics into the show. He understands that if you talk politics, you immediately alienate half your audience. So why do it?

I could have done with fewer “F bombs” but you get used to it after a while. His stick on being taken to “HR” was hilarious. The headline above brought a huge laugh and got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe, we are beginning to take ourselves a little less seriously and maybe, just maybe, we will survive the ‘woke’ onslaught.

The key to ethnic humor is stereotypes. And whether we like it or not, they exist. One size does not fit all, but it is generally true that men are taken with women who are, shall we say, well endowed. True or not, Asians have a reputation for not being the best drivers, black men, well – this is a family magazine. The blacks in the room were laughing at the black jokes, the Asians were rolling on the floor. Garrett didn’t single out anyone. He wasn’t hurtful. He was funny. And the audience loved it.

I looked around the room and by my take this wasn’t a bunch of rednecks. There were people of every age, every ethnic background, every social level (if one could tell that by the clothes they wore.) I didn’t see anyone horrified by the onslaught. We were laughing at the presentation, the hectoring back to the comedians of yesteryear. The Jews who did their comedy in the “borscht belt,” the blacks who honored their own with stories about their culture, the movies that couldn’t be made today (can you say Blazing Saddles and The Producers.)

Brad Garrett isn’t for everyone. But perhaps we can laugh at ourselves again. At least some did in one small room in Vegas. Remember, you cannot laugh with others if you cannot laugh at yourself.

JVH

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